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Management Bulletin 19-03

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: State Median Income and Income Ranking Table for Fiscal Year 2019–20

Number: 19-03

Date: June 17, 2019

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Education Code, sections 8263 and 8263.1

Attention: Executive Officers and Program Directors of All Early Learning and Care Programs


The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify contractors of:

  • The revised income ceilings to be used to determine families’ income eligibility for early learning and care programs

  • The updated income ranking table

  • Change in the initial income eligibility ceiling from 70 percent of State Median Income (SMI) to 85 percent of SMI

This MB supersedes MB 18-03.


California Education Code (EC) Section 8263.1 requires the California Department of Finance to annually recalculate the SMI based on the most recent census data and pursuant to the formula set forth in EC Section 8263.1(c), and provide the calculations to the California Department of Education (CDE). The updated SMI calculations are used to revise the income ceilings for the initial certification and recertification process and to update the Income Ranking Table used for determining priority for enrollment.

Currently in accordance with EC Section 8263.1, for families initially establishing eligibility (prior to July 1, 2019), for subsidized early learning and care services based on income, a family’s adjusted monthly income must be at or below 70 percent of the SMI adjusted for family size. Additionally, for the purpose of determining ongoing eligibility for services based on income, a family’s adjusted monthly income must be at or below 85 percent of SMI adjusted for family size.

Assembly Bill (AB) 2626 (Chapter 945, Statutes of 2018) amended EC Section 8263.1. Effective July 1, 2019, for families initially establishing eligibility for subsidized early learning and care services based on income, a family’s adjusted monthly income must be at or below 85 percent of the SMI, adjusted for family size. This is the same percentage being used to determine ongoing eligibility.  

In addition, EC Section 8263(b) requires contractors to enroll families in priority order. The EC Section 8263(b)(1) specifies that the first priority must be families with children who are receiving child protective services or at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Second priority goes to families in income ranking order, with lowest income receiving highest priority. The EC Section 8263(b)(2) authorizes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to adopt an Income Ranking Table for determining enrollment priorities.


Effective July 1, 2019, contractors must use the revised Schedule of Income Ceilings when determining both initial and ongoing income eligibility for families.


The following Schedule of Income Ceilings must be used for determining income eligibility for families initially certified or recertified on or after July 1, 2019.

Schedule of Income Ceilings (85% SMI)
for SFY 2019–20 Child Care and Development Programs
Family Size Family Monthly Income Family Yearly Income


































Updates based on 2017 ACS from California Department of Finance

Source: 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample File

Note: State Median Income for families of 5 persons or more are calculated by multiplying the SMI for a family of four by the ratio for the appropriate family size used in the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and specified in federal regulations at paragraphs (5), (6), and (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 96.85 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Effective July 1, 2019, contractors must use the revised Income Ranking Table at when determining priority for enrolling families.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned Early Learning and Care Field Services Consultant via the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments web page at or by phone at 916-322-6233.

This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement. Any portion of this Management Bulletin that is not supported by a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive pursuant to California Education Code Section 33308.5.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Monday, June 17, 2019
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